- General questions before coming to Vietnam
- General Questions about tours, flight.train, car and other services in Viet Nam
I. General questions before coming to Vietnam
- Are there any restrictions on photography in Vietnam?
- Can I buy antiques in Vietnam?
- How can I take large items home with me – furniture or paintings, for example?
- Are there Internet facilities in Vietnam?
- The artist you took me to was wonderful. I want to give him a gift. Any ideas?
- I am from the United States. Will I face any hostility because of the war?
- What is the attitude towards drugs in Vietnam?
- Is it possible to stay overnight on boat in Halong bay? Could you please describe it?
- Can I ride a motorbike in Vietnam?
- Is car rental valued per hour or per kilometers?
- Can I drive a car in Vietnam?
- What should I do in order to book tour with Sinh Café travel?
- What includes in the car rental?
- Can I travel freely in Vietnam?
- Can I go kayaking on Halong Bay?
- Is it safe to ride a motorcycle in Vietnam?
- Can I go kayaking from Catba island?
- What is your bike type?
- Can you arrange a biking tour in Vietnam?
- What is the ability of the tour guide like?
- Is there any free time in the tour ?
- What can I do about jet lag?
- What should we do about malaria ?
- How will medical emergencies be dealt with?
- What if I am hospitalized or become incapacitated?
- What will happen if there is an emergency?
- What is the main difference in the climate of Vietnam and that of my country?
- Where can I change my currency for local currency?
- Can I use a credit card to get cash in Vietnam?
- Can I pay by credit card in Vietnam?
- What is the payment method for the balance ?
- What if I have a lot of local currency left over when I leave?
- What is the payment method for deposit?
- What about travellers’ cheques?
Food and drink
- What do you serve if I am a vegetarian?
- How to book a cheap air tickets to Vietnam?
- Can we book air tickets through Sinh café Travel?
- How to buy air tickets to Vietnam?
Flights and Tours
Answer - General questions before coming to Vietnam
Q. Can I in Vietnam?
A. Yes, you can travel freely in Vietnam. There’s some sensible places ( near the border ) you need to apply for permission before visiting. You had better contact our office for any instruction, or you can book part of the services through our company like car rental or hotel. The other you can pay by your self.
Q. Can I ride a in Vietnam?
A. Yes, you can ride a motorbike if you have motor bike driving license. You had better learn about the area before. Or you can rent our tour guide to go with you.
Q. Is it safe to ride a in Vietnam?
A. No,it isn’t . Many Vietnamese people don’t have proper knowledge and awareness of the traffic law. Road condition is bad and dusty. You had better take a ride on a short segment below 50 km. The rest you can use the car to continue the trip.
Q. Can I in Vietnam?
A. Yes, you can. it is recommended for you to rent a car in Tourist company . It’s safe. And you can have thoughtful care from the driver. Tourists who are not used to the traffic in Vietnam find it difficult to drive.
Q. Is car rental valued per hour or per ?
A. Car rental is valued per km and time. We can provide you exact the costs on the scheduled itineraries.
Q. What includes in the ?
A. Car rental includes tax, gas, toll fees, driver’s personal expenses.
Q. What should I do in order to book tour with ?
A. After an agreement on the tour program and quotation, you confirm your booking for the tour by paying deposit.
We requires 20% of the total amount as deposit. The balance will be settled upon your arrival Vietnam. After receiving it, we proceed all the bookings and send you final confirmation soonest.
Further, we could scan all the hotel confirmations and air tickets to keep your mind on the itineraries and better understanding.
Q. Is it possible to stay in Halong bay? Could you please discribe it?
A. Yes, definitely. The junk have 5- 7 rooms, bathroom ensuite. Each rooms have twin beds or double bed, fan, toilet, hot water. Air conditioning in the room is available at your request. Each junk have dining room and sitting room ( 20 – 30 m2). You can go the the upper bunk for sightseeing or sunbathing.
We guarantee the hygiene and good services on the boat.
Q. Can I go ?
A. Yes, you can go kayaking following the 1, 2 or 3 days tours from Hanoi. We have composite kayaks and professional guide available.
Q. Can I go island?
A. yes, We can arrange 1 day kayaking and swimming on Lan Ha bay.
Q. Can you arrange a in Vietnam?
A. Yes, we can. It depends on your demands, we can arrange short biking tour in and arround Hanoi, Hue, Saigon or biking tour throughout Vietnam.
We can arrange biking tour guide to go with you. We also arrange a minibus, if you don’t want to cycle, you can use the minibus instead.
Q. What is your ?
A. The bikes are new and nice . They have 21 gears. Any way, you can bring your own bike with you.
Q. What is the ability of the like?
A. Our tour guides are experienced, with National Certificate from National Tourism Board.
- Tour guides are always received good feedback from our customers.
Q. Is there any in the tour ?
A. yes, but not many. Usually after dinner. You can request more free time for shopping.
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Flights and Tours
Q. How to buy to Vietnam?
A. There are many airlines which have direct flights to Vietnam like: Vietnam airlines, Air France, American Airlines, Thai Airway, Japanese airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines. Please contact with the airlines agency to book the air tickets.
Q. How to book a to Vietnam?
A. There are many website and airline agencies which provides air ticketing. You had better study several airlines to find the suitable one.
Q. Can we through Sinh café Travel?
A. Yes, you can book air tickets to Vietnam through our company and receive air tickets at your country. The airfare will be higher cause we have to pay for the fees when issuing the tickets in foreign country. The best way is to book the air tickets for yourself.
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Food and Drink
Q. What do you serve if I am a vegetarian?
A. In this case, please advise us before so that we can order a vegetarian menu during your trip in Vietnam. Vietnam is famous for Vegetarian foods, tropical fruits. We are willing to serve at your taste.
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Q. Are there any restrictions on in Vietnam?
A. Yes. Photography in or near military installations, airports or similar locations is prohibited. Anyone caught doing so will have the film, and possibly the camera or camcorder, confiscated and may be arrested.
Q. Can I buy in Vietnam?
A. A qualified yes. However, exporting an artifact with cultural significance requires an official license. Without a license, anything old is liable to be confiscated at the airport.
Q. How can I take large items home with me – , for example?
A. We are also registered for export and import activities. We will give you an ‘at cost’ quotation, and arrange for the items to be properly crated and licensed for export.
Q. Are there in Vietnam?
A. Yes, plenty in cities and large towns, but not in rural areas. Most large hotels have internet access, and Internet cafes are commonplace and cheap.
Q. The artist you took me to was . I want to give him a gift. Any ideas?
A. This is a common query. Rather than make general suggestions, we will try to suggest something that will be really appreciated, and purchase it on your behalf, if necessary.
Q. I am from the . Will I face any hostility because of the war?
A. You will be surprised by the warmth of your reception. We Vietnamese live in the present and the future – the war is history. We warmly welcome people from all countries and races.
Q. What is the attitude in Vietnam?
A. The law is strict in Vietnam. The use of illegal narcotics is strictly forbidden, and dealers and persons caught trafficking, whether Vietnamese or foreigner, face execution. Don't risk it under any circumstances!
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Q. Can card to get cash in Vietnam?
A. Yes, You can withdraw cash at any ATM in big cities such as: Hanoi, Hochiminh city, Hue, Hoian, Halong, Haiphong, Danang, Nhatrang, Buon Ma Thuot , Vung tau, Cantho with commission
Q. Can card in Vietnam?
A. Yes, You can pay by credit card with 3% commission for Visa and Master, 4% commission for Amex. You can pay at shops and hotels in big cities, commercial centre and tourist sites.
Q. What about ?
A. You can change into USD or Vietnamese dong with commission from 1%-3% at the banks in big cities. Travellers’ cheques can be used to pay for the room charge and other tourism services.
Q. Where can I change my currency for?
A. You can change your currency for local currency at the airport, banks, Jewerllery shops. You should prepare some cash in USD and Euros ( 50- 100 domination) for better exchange rates.
Q. What if I have left over when I leave?
A. You can change local currency to the currency you brought in only by showing the yellow customs slip that you were given on arrival. The amount must be less than the original.
Q. What is the payment method for ?
A. You can pay by credit card or bank transfer or you can use the service of Western Union . Please read our terms and conditions for more details.
Q. What is the payment method for the ?
A. After paying for deposit, you can settle the balance at our office in Hanoi or in Hochiminh city by cash or credit card. Cash ( Euros or US dollar ) is preferred. Or you can bank transfer the balance directly to our bank account before traveling to Vietnam.
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Q. What is the main difference in of Vietnam and that of my country?
A. Vietnam is both hot and humid. Combined, they make visitors from temperate countries sweat profusely. Drinking plenty of water and good sun protection is essential.
Q. What can I do about ?
A. Not much, really. A stop-over en-route, or a rest day on arrival helps. It’s important to try to sleep and wake according to local time, even on the aero plane.
Q. What will happen if there is an ?
A. With Opentour Sinhcafe, your guide will always have a mobile ‘phone and a means of summoning immediate assistance. You will also have direct telephone access Head office.
Q. How will be dealt with?
A. You will be immediately taken to the nearest international clinic or hospital for an immediate examination and appropriate treatment according to the terms of your insurance.
Q. What if I am or become incapacitated?
A. If you have supplied us with the details of your insurance, we will contact the company on your behalf and assist in any way we can.
Q. What should we do ?
A. Malaria happens in the mountainous area. All the hotels in the area have mosquitoes net. We often organize tours to the rural area but there’s no malaria cases. Only local people have risks to this disease.
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II. Answer - General Questions about tours, flight.train, car and other services in Viet Nam
Travel Frequently Asked Questions on traveling Vietnam
Here are the most common questions asked by our travelers, please follow the links to get the answers or you can type your questions on the search gap above.
If you can not find your answers, please send us your questions, we will email you and update it here for other travelers.
Tour with Opentour Vietnam travel
- Opentour Vietnam Travel
- Tour Guides and Staff
- Tour Planning
- Price & Payment
- Arrival to Vietnam
- Hotels and Lodging
- Traveling with Children
- Opentour Closed for Holidays
- Travel Equipment
Opentour Vietnam Travel
- Is Opentour Tours Partnership Private Company?
- Has Opentour Vietnam Travel been involved in any form of litigation from any former clients?
Q. Is Opentour Tours Partnership Private Company?
Opentour is a private limited company, we are registered with Hanoi Business and Planning Department, registration number is ###. As a tourism business we are also licensed by Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) – click here to see our license number LHQT.
Tip: Make sure that you are on a tour with a licensed tour operators and licensed tour guide, since there are lots of illegal travel operations in Vietnam, you won’t be in big trouble but it’s likely take your valuable time away.
Q. Has Opentour Vietnam Travel been involved in any form of litigation from any former clients?
No, we have not! Since Opentour feels as though they have set the industry standard in Vietnam for safety and quality. Our products and services are at the highest levels of quality control, set to the perfection. VNAT is our government to contact if you have further concerns.
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- How Long Travel Vietnam? How long do I need to travel Vietnam?
- What are set tours and custom tours Vietnam?
- What does a “Vietnam Package Tour” mean?
- Does Opentour offer group tours or just private tours? So group size will be normally small?
- Are meals inclusive in our tour programs? What does “(B,L,D)” mean?
- Please explain what you mean by NET on your tour price?
- What do you mean by a ‘Private Tour’?
- What are differences on tour prices between Standard, Superior, Deluxe?
- What to do if I need to change my booking or booking details?
- Do I pay a change fee?
Q. How Long Travel Vietnam? How long do I need to travel Vietnam?
Vietnam so much to offer, it could take someone 3 months to see and experience everything but here is our suggestions that have worked for our clients in the past:
The North, from Hanoi, make a two- day trip to Ha Long Bay and/ or Mai Chau followed by a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda and/ or Tam Coc. Spend the remaining time exploring the delights, foods and culture in the Hanoi capital.
The South, from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), it is possible to do a day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels and a two or three-day tour of the Mekong Delta (include some cycling for added adventure). The rest of the time can be spent sightseeing, eating, shopping and carousing in HCM city.
Note that highlights of the following two options can also be combined; a typical whirlwind tour means flying into Hanoi, exploring the area (including Halong Bay and/ or Sapa) then making a beeline to Hue or Hoian before heading south to HCM city (or vice versa). Excursion airline tickets allowing such a routing are common, and recommended to avoid backtracking.
The North, follow the above one-week itinerary for the north, then take a spin into the northwest mountains (especially Sapa & Bac Ha) and/ or a trip to Cuc Phuong, Ba Be or Cat Ba National parks.
The South, a two-week visit to the south will allow for the one-week itinerary, followed by a loop up to Dalat, and back down to the beaches in and around Nha Trang and/ or Mui Ne Beach. Time permitting, you could then head to Hoi An and fly back to HCM city from Da Nang or Hue.
A month is enough time to take in most of the major sights. Starting in the south (this itinerary can also be followed in reverse from Hanoi), follow the two- week itinerary as far as Hoi An or Da Nang before pressing on to Hue. Take a DMZ tour out of Hue, then travel on to Ha Noi. Either fly out of Hanoi or continue overland to China.
Two months will allow ample time to see everything in more detail. In addition to our other suggested itineraries, explore the Mekong Delta more thoroughly, with a side trip to lovely Phu Quoc Island. Or spend a few days lingering on the giant sand dunes at Mui Ne Beach (near Phan Thiet), south of Nha Trang. A trip to the western part of the central highlands should include a visit to Dalat. Don’t forget Phong Nha Cave to the north of the DMZ. In the far north, you can explore remote areas such as Dien Bien Phu, Cao Bang and Bai Tu Long Bay.
Tip: Arrange your vacation to Vietnam in 3 weeks so that you will have chance to discover most of the highlights.
Q. What are set tours and custom tours Vietnam?
A set tour is more like a readymade tour or package tour, where you just book and get the instant confirmation. However, if you wish to tailor it to suite your travel needs please talk to one of our travel consultants, in this case, Opentour is making a custom tour for you.
Tip: Look at the sample tours on our website before planning your custom tours to Vietnam. It will give you all kinds of information as well as some suggested places to visit with descriptions.
Q. What does a “Vietnam Package Tour” mean?
Package tours or all-inclusive tours are pre-designed and pre-arranged for you to holiday with ease. Not only will you travel hassle-free with these package tours, you will save time dealing with details before and during your trip. They have also been designed to save you money for your next holiday.
Our package tours normally include: all local tour guides, transfers, ground transportations, hotels and accommodations, entrance’s fees, travel permits and most of the meals.
Tip: Leave some days free in your package tour so that you can try something different that satisfy your own taste and style.
Q. Does Opentour offer group tours or just private tours? So group size will be normally small?
We are an expert in designing custom, private tours for individuals, small groups of friends, families, schools, businesses, etc. they are all private tours just for you or your own group. Therefore, its just you and your guide (where applicable).
However, we do have some Join-In Group tours, like Halong cruising & kayaking. Sometimes this makes the tours a little bit cheaper. There might be some other tours available at times, please contact one of our travel consultants to get more details.
Tip: If you travel alone it is suggested to book a Join-in Group tour to Halong. It will be more fun and you should be in a small group of about 10 persons
Q. Are meals inclusive in our tour programs? What does “(B,L,D)” mean?
We offer meals on our trips and tour packages for you to holiday with ease. Although, at some sites, we leave it open to flexibility, at these times we will let you find your own restaurants or places to eat. We will also give you a list of recommendations.
B stands for breakfast, L is for Lunch, and D works for Dinner.
Tip: Check with our travel consultants or your local guides as they know the best spots to go and eat.
Q. Please explain what you mean by NET on your tour price?
Net price is the selling price. It is the right amount that you have to pay to Opentour. There will be no commissions added to, nor discounts taken from this price.
If you pay by credit card or traveler’s cheque, there will be a surcharge on this net price.
Tip: Pay us some deposit by Credit Card and the rest in Cash when you are here can save you some money on bank transfers and credit card charges, etc.
Q. What do you mean by a ‘Private Tour’?
Private tours are taken by one or more passengers (all in the same party) on the date of their choice, subject to schedules and availability. Private tours offer the following benefits:
- Travel at your own pace
Private tours are very flexible, allowing you to start your sightseeing excursions whenever you choose and set your own pace while traveling.
- With your own tour guide
Our local guides are waiting to show you their countryside and places of interest. All sightseeing excursions are accompanied with your own private English-speaking local guide. This means that you can ask as many or as few questions as you like and take sightseeing trips at your own pace, with the emphasis on your own interests.
- Enjoy your private transfers, boats, etc.
Get what you pay for and huge value for your money. For the road transfers, boat trips in Halong Bay and other Vietnam rivers, you'll have your own air-conditioned private car and private driver, air-conditioned boat with helpful captains and crews. This allows you to travel in comfort and to stop off along the way if you see something of interest, want to take photographs, or for a break.
- You will have flexibility in your accommodation
With Opentour travel consultant / sales, we design our private tours from High-end to Economy hotels, which allows you to easily manage your budget at the level you wish. If you would like to stay in any hotels other than those featured in the tour itinerary, or if you would like to update the standard of your room, just notify your travel consultant at Opentour. Anything can be easily arranged. You will be informed the difference in price.
Q. What are differences on tour prices between Standard, Superior, Deluxe?
The two main differences are the hotel classes and type of boats / junks in Halong Bay. Everything else will be at great international quality.
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Standard means a tour is priced with lower priced room at a hotel, normally with economy class or 2 star hotels. Please do not expect too much in the way of amenities and service at the 2 star hotels in Vietnam.
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Superior means inclusion of hotels ranging from 3-4 stars. This is a good quality hotel with a range of facilities, amenities and good service.
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Deluxe price is inclusive with high quality four and five-star Vietnam hotels. These are equipped with the highest quality and standards of service in Vietnam. With your trip to Vietnam equipped with these hotels you will insure a fantastic holiday.
Opentour suggests using hotels Superior. We have had much feedback from our past clients from the hotels that we have chosen and the feedback has been great. These Superior packages will also save you money. Further the greater majority of the Superior hotels are Vietnamese owned, providing greater benefits to the Vietnamese community.
For boats / junks:
There are some main differences on the boat / junk types:
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Space on the boat: with the standard option you would have to expect a small size boat, and a smaller bedroom with an average sized sun deck. The Superior & Deluxe classes will have larger sized dining area that is warm and cozy on cooler nights, and more importantly, increased comfort in your cabins (larger bed, bigger glassed window) as well as the sunbath area (with comfortable chairs).
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Toilet & shower: if you wish to have comfort in your privacy, the Standard boat will not be a good choice as the toilet is normally outside (shared bathrooms). However, the Superior class will offer a private bathroom in your cabin and you will even find it better in Deluxe class.
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Facilities on the Superior and Deluxe boat are up-to-date and at an international standard. There is good air-conditioning in the cabin, fine toilet facilities whilst there is normally a fan in the cabin at the standard boat.
<!--[if !supportLists]--> - <!--[endif]-->Well trained devoted and courteous staff will always make your stay unforgettable on the Superior and Deluxe junk.
Tip: Halong Bay is beautiful and we suggest you enjoy it in Superior or Deluxe Junk, paying a bit more will be worth every added cent you pay.
Q. What to do if I need to change my booking or booking details?
We suggest you contact us immediately if you decide to change your booking details. You can send us an email with your name, your booking code and all other information you would like to let us know. We will try our best to accommodate your change or request.
Q. Do I pay a change fee?
In most cases, early changes will not result in a fee, but each travel supplier or service provider will have different contract terms with us. Please inquire directly for the change or cancellation policy for any particular tour
If we charge you a fee, in all cases, it is to pay back to hotels and other service suppliers of your bookings as we have to cancel your service arrangement with them and we are charged by them.
Tip: Read our terms and conditions, check with our travel consultants when you are planning trip with us about the deadline of no-charges for changes and cancellation
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- Are there seat belts on your car/van/bus?
- Internal transportation, are your drivers qualified?
- How are the cars, jeeps, vans, minibus and coach like in Vietnam? Are they safe?
Q. Are there seat belts on your car/van/bus?
All of our vehicles used will have seat belts for you. Though seat belts are not compulsory in Vietnam, we suggest you use them for your safety.
Tip: Public transportation like local buses or trains might not have seat belts on their seats
Q. Internal transportation, are your drivers qualified?
We use our own vehicles and also contracted transportation. All of them must have met our standards including: nationally certified driver’s license and maintenance skills, as well as hospitality and tourism skills. Further, the majority of our drivers can speak English.
Q. How are the cars, jeeps, vans, minibus and coach like in Vietnam? Are they safe?
Our standard of vehicles we use for travel & tourism must be new and not more than 5 years old. This is not only for your comfort but also for environmental protection. There are four main vehicle types being used now: Toyota, Mercedes, Ford, Honda, aside from these we sometimes use Nissan and BMW.
For those who have traveled to Vietnam in the past may remember the old Russian jeeps used for the Northwest and Northeast loop. We have stopped using them because of safety and environmental reasons.
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Hotels and Lodging
Q. What kind of hotels do you recommend?
This really depends on your budget for your vacations in Vietnam. It is nice to be at the 4 to 5 stars hotels where standards are up to an international level, but please note that these are often fully booked. There is currently not enough rooms in the 4 – 5 star hotels estimated for 2007 – 2008. Thus expect some alternative.
Hotels that are 2 – 3 star are recommended to save money for your next holiday and to avoid the unavailability in the high season.
Q. What do you mean by “homestay” and “camping”?
Homestay is an overnight in the home of one of the local ethnic minorities. They have been set up in a way that the community benefits from the added tourism income and not just a single entity.
There are not many tours that we do that involve camping. We now use camping in Fansipan, Bach Ma National park and at some sites in our trekking tours to Dalat. Camping means we will be staying in tents, outside. Consider that we will welcome all weather conditions during these tours.
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Traveling with Children
Q. What if we have small children traveling with us?
For shared rooms with their parents, normally a child under 5 years old is free of charge. If an extra bed for your child is needed it would result in some additional costs.
We recommend you to arrange a private tour just for your family, thus giving you and your family more room and comfort during van transportation and flexibility in your tour itinerary.
It is the best to consult with your doctors before you bring your newborns or infants traveling to Vietnam.
Before traveling, please talk with Opentour travel consultants to figure out how you will manage all the baby gear at all the sites.
Q. Disable people traveling with wheel chair?
For people with wheelchairs, we will need some very special care, especially with transportation, as well as at some sites with tough grounds. Normally a private transport is arranged and a porter at some sites is needed.
Please contact our consultants to have had some experience in these cases
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Opentour travel closed for Holidays
Q. Can my holiday be arranged by Opentour over the Tet holiday?
Yes, but is advised to please contact us long before your vacation, our office will be closed during Tet holiday, click here to see
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- What other equipment is provided by Opentour when on a camping trip (e.g. tents, cooking equipment etc)?
- Do I need a First Aid Kit for my trip?
- Is it possible to buy/ hire mobile phones in Hanoi? How much of the route has mobile coverage?
- What is the best source of mapping for the area? What maps does Opentours have? Would it be possible to obtain maps for each of the clients?
Q. What other equipment is provided by Opentour when on a camping trip (e.g. tents, cooking equipment etc)?
Opentour will provide tents, cooking equipment and any other necessities need for sleep and cooking for our hiking trip. Please check with our tour operator to get a specific list of what is supplied and what you have to bring with you on your trip to Vietnam.
What equipment is recommended to bring on our trip to Vietnam?
When adventuring in Vietnam you need very little equipment. Opentour knows that much of the stuff you may need would be difficult to carry while you travel so we will supply everything for you. This applies for trekking, hiking, kayaking, canyoning, and climbing.
Please see the “what to bring list” at the bottom of all the detailed itineraries or ask your travel consultant.
Q. Do I need a First Aid Kit for my trip?
We suggest that each traveler brings their own small first-aid kit. For some tough adventures we will need to have a group safety kit to be brought along with us; this is supplied by Opentour.
Q. Is it possible to buy/ hire mobile phones in Hanoi? How much of the route has mobile coverage?
Yes, it’s very easy to hire or buy cell phones here in Vietnam. There are many new and used mobile phone shops. Prices are extremely cheap and buying a SIM card is very easy. If you are traveling for an extended period of time we recommend that you have a phone number for safety and for sharing your number with friends that you meet along the way.
The coverage is fine in the major city centers, towns and townlettes. Once you are trekking far in the jungle or in the remote areas service begins to fade away
Q. What is the best source of mapping for the area? What maps does Opentours have? Would it be possible to obtain maps for each of the clients?
We have the standard travelers’ maps of Vietnam with us, and at each trekking site, we will have a more detailed map that shows routes we are going to. It is easy to obtain maps for each of the travelers, this is on your request! If you would like more detailed maps for your journey, the book stores carry all the maps and map books for all destinations in Vietnam
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Safety in Vietnam
- What arrangements (including communications) are in place for an evacuation of a client in the event of an emergency?
- What emergency assistance (e.g. air rescue) is available, how are they contacted, and what are the estimated response times?
- How long will it take to evacuate an incapacitated client?
- How will we be able to make contact with the outside world?
- How will the outside world be able to make contact with us?
- What vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis do you recommend?
- What measures are in place to minimize these risks?
Q. What arrangements (including communications) are in place for an evacuation of a client in the event of an emergency?
Depending on the situation, emergency, injury and environment we will have the best solution for an evacuation. If we are in a remote area the local people (porters, local guides, villagers) will help us effectively take the client to meeting point or the nearest clinic
Q. What emergency assistance (e.g. air rescue) is available, how are they contacted, and what are the estimated response times?
In cities, town and tourist destinations, there are hospitals / clinics and ambulance service relatively close by and very easy to contact. Throughout Vietnam the number to call is 115.
In remote & mountainous areas, an emaergency may become difficult due to poor communication and bad roads. In many of the National parks where the majority of our adventures take place there has been first aid and evacuation training and aid is at the most a half-day by foot away. Worst-case scenario, the group would have to walk the patient out ourselves. There are many resources to do this effectively.
In Vietnam, air service is very hard to come by for military and resource reasons. Because the areas we adventure too are so close to tourist centers and main roads, it would not warrant air evacuation
Q. How long will it take to evacuate an incapacitated client?
In the major cities, in rush hour, a patient would be in a clinic in under an hour. All evacuations depend on the situation and it is very hard to determine the length of time to get a patient or patients out. In the wilderness, depending on the difficulty and resources it could take up to one day to have a patient evacuated to a place where transport could be waiting.
The major tekking centers in Vietnam are Mai Chau and Sapa. The hospitals emergency contacts and addresses are as follows. The hospitals are equipped to handle emergencies.
In Sapa: Sapa Medical Clinic, Cau May Street, Sapa Town (xom 3 thi tran Sapa) Phone: 020-871237
In Mai Chau: Mai Chau Town Hospital. Phone: 018-867244
Q. How will we be able to make contact with the outside world?
There is moderately good cell phone coverage on the treks. Especially in Sapa. In case of emergency, there is usually a fixed phone in the Peoples’ Committee Office in the nearest village. If you are still concerned it is recommended that you rent a satellite phone in your country before coming to Vietnam. Please make sure that you know how to use it and that you show your guide how to use it as well
Q. How will the outside world be able to make contact with us?
If you are in remote areas that will be quite difficult. The best way would be to give family members the contact at Opentour. If the situation arises, Opentour will get a hold of a local and have them reach your group by foot.
Q. What vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis do you recommend?
Before leaving for Vietnam, all clients should make sure to receive the appropriate vaccinations especially against typhoid, malaria and hepatitis A. Please ask your doctor for their recommendations as their advice will be better than ours.
What are the principle risks to the clients during an expedition? Specifically, please comment on the severity and potential of risks posed by:
|SK||Severity (1-5)||Potential (1-5)|
|Road Traffic Accident||3.5||4|
|Local Flora and Fauna||4||1|
|Disease / Epedemic||4||1|
|Heat Related Problems||2.5||3|
|Climate / Weather conditions||1||3|
The above list is taking into account many possible situations. And is only to help give you an idea of the possible risks in Vietnam and not during your tour. Opentour takes evey precaution to make sure you will have a safe trip. Please do the same. If you are going to be going on a major expedition or adventure please be well prepared, mentally and physically.
Q. What measures are in place to minimize these risks?
All of our guide are well trained and have been briefed in what to do in an emergency. When necessary will be taking extra resources when needed (porter, extra equipment). Further, all of our clients will be briefed before the trip of any dangers. When a situation occurs where there is danger, all clients will be warned the safest option will be used.
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Others with Opentour Vietnam travel
- How ‘remote’ are the various phases of the expedition – are there many other tourists to these areas?
- How technical / problematic / physical are each of the phases (e.g. are ropes used at any point, are river crossings are necessary, what will the clients be expected to carry?)?
- How much infrastructure is there on the proposed route (e.g. bridges, well trod paths)?
- What level of fitness is expected from the clients?
- What, if any, training / qualification / experience is expected of the clients?
- What visas, permits, immunization certificates etc are required by clients? Is Opentours responsible for any/all of these?
- How much acclimatization is recommended prior to the start of the expedition?
- Exactly what meals do Opentours provide and when will the clients be expected to buy / obtain their own food?
- What will be our source of safe drinking water?
- Does Opentours provide accommodation for all phases of the expedition and what is the nature of the accommodation?
- Exactly what transport is provided by Opentour? As much detail as possible about the nature of vehicles, driver training, state of roads and likelihood of road traffic accidents?
- What are the daily duties and general responsibilities of the clients?
- How can clients get involved in the expedition (leadership, navigation etc.)?
- Is it possible for us to make contact a week before hand in Hanoi?
- In what events will we not be provided the services and no refund offered (e.g. natural disaster, political / civil instability, weather conditions, bureaucratic problems)?
- Does the price paid to Opentours include any insurance?
Q. How ‘remote’ are the various phases of the expedition – are there many other tourists to these areas?
In the Pu Luong Nature Reserves areas of Hang Kia, Paco, and Khoe there are very few of tourists. So remote, that in some places there may have never been tourists before. While trekking the trails you will only meet friendly local people (Thai and Muong) with a big smiles and looks of excitement when they see you.
In Sapa, it’s much more touristy in the main centre and the hill tribe people all has excellent English skills which they have learnt from the tourist. Befriending the local children and people there is one of the things that makes Sapa special. There has also been many tourists to Tavan, Ta Pin and Ban Ho villages. Although in Ta Phin there have been only a handful who have stayed the night. If you are willing to do a little longer trek or some exploring there are actually villages in the immediate area that have seen very few tourists.
Q. How technical / problematic / physical are each of the phases (e.g. are ropes used at any point, are river crossings are necessary, what will the clients be expected to carry?)?
Al of the trekking is easy going to moderate hiking, depending on the weather. The only trek that will require the use of ropes in the Fansipan trek, where we will use ropes during the final phase to reach the summit.
Q. How much infrastructure is there on the proposed route (e.g. bridges, well trod paths)?
All of the trails are unpaved and steep in places. Some wading through streams and mud in Pu luong areas is necessary. All of the routes will become more difficult in wet conditions
Q. What level of fitness is expected from the clients?
Whenever you travel you should be in good health, especially when traveling to foreign countries. If you are trekking for a multi day excursion you should be in good, both physically and mentally (sense of adventure). For Opentour’s one day and most of the two day treks, you will have the support of the van, so if you are not in the best of shape but still want to challenge yourself, we encourage you to go for it.
Q. What, if any, training / qualification / experience is expected of the clients?
If you decide to go trekking some minimal trekking (hiking, nature walking) experience is always helpful but not extremely necessary for the shorter treks.
Some musts are the ability to know your limitations, co-operation and communication kills. A good attitude is always a must. And being respectful to the locals and the environment is also a must.
f you are looking to be even more prepared, you could look into a first aid course.
Q. What visas, permits, immunization certificates etc are required by clients? Is Opentours responsible for any/all of these?
Each person must have their own entry visa to Vietnam before leaving for Vietnam. You can normally get it your self but we can also help if you request. Ask you travel consultant for more information.
You do not require an immunization certificate to enter Vietnam.
Opentour’s only responsible for attaining the visiting permits that are required for tourists to stay at tourist sites that they are required.
Q. How much acclimatization is recommended prior to the start of the expedition?
There will be no situation where we will encounter a need for acclimatization. The maximum elevation gain is 3000m in 12 hours. The change in temperature from the main cities to the trekking areas is not too severe. Sometimes in Sapa the temperature can drop 15 degrees from Hanoi but that caneasily manages with proper preparation and layered clothing.
The most difficult things to overcome when you get to Vietnam may be jet lag and culture shock. Taking it easy on the first day and a Opentour guide will help you overcome those problems.
Q. Exactly what meals do Opentours provide and when will the clients be expected to buy / obtain their own food?
Opentour provides all meals (mentioned clearly in tour program) the tours whether you are trekking in Sapa or cruising Halong Bay (please see the tour program). Some of meals are some Vietnamese food, usually including steamed rice, spring rolls, grilled pork, fried chicken and a lot of fresh vegetables .The meals in Halong Bay will be served with a great selection of local fresh seafood: crayfish, crab, pawn, butter fish, squid and whatever else is in season. Some picnic lunches will be prepared very locally (sticky rice, eggs, fruits) or very Western style (bread with jam, cheese, butter and fruit).
If you or any client has special requirements about food – vegetarian, lactose intolerant, allergies, no pork - please inform us in advance.
You also can obtain some favorite International dishes and cuisine in Hanoi and other major cities, and in some tourist sites like Sapa and Mai Chau. You can also buy tropical, seasonal fruits, biscuits, snacks, energy-treats in the markets or department stores whenever they are available.
Q. What will be our source of safe drinking water?
In Vietnam the safe drinking water comes in bottles or from water purifiers. It is suggested to buy bottles of water (brands: La Vie, Aquafina, Vinh Hao, Miru). Bottles of water are available almost everywhere. Before trekking ask your guide how much water you may need so that you can prepare accordingly.
In the homestays, the host family will prepared boiled water if needed. Soft drinks and cans of beer are also readily available in most places we visit.
Q. Does Opentours provide accommodation for all phases of the expedition and what is the nature of the accommodation?
Yes, all accommodation will be covered during the duration of your trek. In most cases we will be staying with villagers in their traditional houses (homestay). Houses have basic standard amenities. A clean bed and mattress (sometimes made from rice straw); a mosquito net, pillows, and blankets will be delivered to each of you.
Each homestay accommodation is very different from the other. You will notice major differences in the homestays as you travel from place to place and from ethnic minority to ethnic minority. This is one of the things that often make your tour and Vietnam special.
Some examples include: the Mong people whose homes are made of wood and built on the ground; in Hang Kia the homes are airy and quite spacious, in the Mai Chau valley and the Pu Luong Nature Reserve the homes of the Thai people are built on stilts; in Tavan and Ban Ho (Sapa), where we will enjoy the hospitality of the Zay people and Tay people we will sleep in the lofts of very large wooden homes – Sapa; and in Taphin we will stay in the older wooden homes of the Dao people.
On the conquest the Fanxifan Mountain, we use tents with sleeping bags and the lilos’ (floating mattresses).
In Halong Bay when sleeping on the boat you will stay in the cabins on the boat. The difference between cabin (Standard, Deluxe, Superior) is up to you. Ask you travel consultant for details and pictures. You also have the option of sleeping on the top deck of the boat under the stars.
Q. Exactly what transport is provided by Opentour? As much detail as possible about the nature of vehicles, driver training, state of roads and likelihood of road traffic accidents.
Opentour has a variety of transportation options depending on the size of the group. We have a small car, perfect for small families and couples. All of the cars we use are always less than five years old and have air conditioning.
For larger groups we have our own Opentour bus, with air conditioning and 15 seats. If you have a larger group will find transportation of the same quality and standard.
All the drivers that work for Opentour are well-trained with many years of driving and tourism experience. They are helpful and many can speak English.
The driving and traffic in Vietnam is like no other. In Hanoi there is 3 million motorcycles weaving through the streets. The driving is not high paced but is very busy. It is recommended that you do leave the driving to us as to avoid any accidents or frustration.
The Highways linking the cities to the tourist sites are good. In the remote and mountainous areas the road systems are a bit rough and are not in good condition. Some roads (in Sapa) are under construction and the ride may become more bumpy and slippery in the wet weather.
The majority of the road traffic accidents in Vietnam are light bumps between motorcycles at traffic lights. Accidents on the highways are seldom as high speeds are a rarity.
Q. What are the daily duties and general responsibilities of the clients?
Here is a basic set of principals to follow when traveling to Vietnam:
* Smile and always be polite and respectful of the local people and culture.
* Be mindful and follow the rules and laws of Vietnam. Do not participate in any illegal activities.
* Follow responsible & sustainable tourism practices.
* Follow the itinerary and the guidelines from the leadership of the guide and / or the group leader.
* Please be on time.
Q. How can clients get involved in the expedition (leadership, navigation etc.)?
The more you get involved the better. During the tour being proactive in group management and safety will always be appreciated and sometimes fun. If there is an emergency, accident or small problem helping out with the first aid is also appreciated. Also, carrying your personals as well as helping and motivating others demonstrates leadership.
While at the homestays, helping with the cooking is a great experience and gets you involved.
If a client would like to get involved in the navigation and mapping of the tour and would like to bring a GPS or something similar, you can work with our travel consultants to get the other necessary materials (maps).
Q. Is it possible for us to make contact a week before hand in Hanoi?
You can contact Opentour whenever you like or need. All of our contact information is available from our website and travel consultants.
Q. In what events will we not be provided the services and no refund offered (e.g. natural disaster, political / civil instability, weather conditions, bureaucratic problems)?
We work hard to foresee and inform you of these type of situations at the time of booking, and we will try our best to partially refund for the unforeseen cases mentioned above.
Opentour will not be liable for any compensation if we (the company) or you (the customer) are forced to cancel or in any way change your booking as a result of situations out of our control which we, nor any loss, injury or damage sustained by passengers, nor our suppliers, could foresee or avoid, even with all due care. For example, war or threat of wars, civil strife, industrial disputes, natural disasters or terrorism, etc...
Q. Does the price paid to Opentours include any insurance?
We suggest that you buy travel insurance before you travel to Vietnam. Our tours are not priced with and do not include insurance. Please consult with our travel experts for travel insurance needed for some specific tours in Vietnam
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